Blurbs from the ‘Burbs is written by Arlington resident Jeff Zeeman. Jeff previously wrote about Public Art in Bluemont Park.
In my first Blurbs from the Burbs post, I noted that I’d been pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of ethnic food available in Arlington and Falls Church. Now that I’ve had a chance to sample even more top-notch local restaurants, I thought I’d share more details on a few places that are worth the trip on the Orange Line. I note that in no way does this list claim to be comprehensive, as I’ve only lived in the area for a few months now. For example, I’ve yet to try any of the purportedly stellar Korean restaurants in the area. Here are my favorites as of today:
Hong Kong Palace is easily the best Chinese food I’ve tried in the D.C. area. The cooking is Szechuan style, and the flavors and quality are closely comparable to foodie favorite Peter Chang’s China Cafe near Richmond (which, by the way, I also highly recommend). Note that if you are averse to spicy food, or prefer your Chinese food covered in sticky-sweet sauces per the typical Americanized Chinese, HKP is not for you. The fried chicken with dried chili peppers is a must-try. I also recommend, as appetizers, the dan dan noodles and chengdu zhong dumplings.
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Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.
I love Italian markets. There are a couple around DC, and the Italian Store is one of my favorites. Their pizza is legendary, and their sandwiches are some of my favorites around town. The store also boasts an impressive selection of prepared Italian food, frozen pastas, and sauces. I could go on and on, but safe to say it’s a great store. Here’s how to get there:
I started this route at New Hampshire and M street NW. From there, you want to take M street westbound all the way to the Key bridge. Take the sidewalk to cross the bridge. While that sounds simple, there are a lot of cars on M street, and the left hand turn onto the sidewalk to cross the bridge involves either dismounting and walking or patience through 1-2 light cycles to accomplish it safely.
Getting through Georgetown is the hardest part of the ride. Once you get onto the sidewalk of the bridge, the entire rest of the route is the paved trail until you get to the shopping center where the Italian Store is located. The only part where you need to be careful is crossing the intersection with the GW parkway. Promise me that your going to wait for the light – okay? Even with the light be aware that there are people in the right lane turning right – it’s an unusually busy crossing.
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Blurbs from the ‘Burbs is written by Arlington resident Jeff Zeeman.
Bluemont Park is worth a visit during a Spring venture into Arlington. The park features a frisbee golf course, an amazing train-themed playground, a gorgeous stream, a vintage train caboose, and my favorite, this inventive public art installation from J.W. Mahoney. If you are in the area, see if you can locate all of the engraved stones … some are more obvious than others. Be sure to also check out adjacent Bon Air Park, which features a spectacular rose garden.
The Better Business Bureau opened an investigation, and on Jan. 28, Spa World representative Sang Lee responded to the BBB in writing by stating “It is our policy to not accept any kinds of abnormal sexual oriented customers to our facility such as homosexuals, or transgender(s).”
“Also, for the safety and the comfort of young children at Spa World, we strongly forbid any abnormal sexual behaviors and orientation in our facility. Despite the controversial issue of homosexuality and transgender, it is our policy to not accept them,” Lee wrote.
A petition has started here.
Blurbs from the ‘Burbs is written by new Arlington resident Jeff Zeeman.
Following seven years in Columbia Heights, and 15 years in total of urban living, a variety of altogether unexceptional factors (desire for more space, stellar public schools and amenities, immediate proximity to nature, better commute for my wife, an interest in no longer being awaken by drunk revelers at 2:00 A.M.) triumphed over my initial reluctance to move to the western half of Arlington. The urban snob in me at first rebelled: after years of carless living in edgy, gentrifying neighborhoods in three different cities, would I be able to survive without the constant reinvention of the urban fabric, the diverse and quirky neighborhood fixtures, and the street-level energy to sustain me? Admittedly, some part of me feared transforming from the “cool, in-the-know city guy” so central to my self-concept into “minivan-driving Dockers-wearing suburban golfer guy.” Happily, I’ve learned that, if you look carefully, Arlington is not without its own idiosyncratic quirks, and I plan to periodically chronicle them here. In this introductory post, I’ll summarize what has surprised me about Arlington so far, and what I miss most about D.C. Future posts will more narrowly focus on smaller discoveries from my adventures in Arlington and Falls Church.
(1) Between the options available to me in Arlington and adjacent Falls Church (I live near the border), I can eat just as well as in D.C., only a lot cheaper. True, Arlington has few if any offerings that can match the higher end of the D.C food scene. But the area makes up for what it lacks in expensive and stylish restaurants with its abundance of really stellar cheap eats, in particular, ethnic food. I’ve already found a regular Chinese spot (Hong Kong Palace), Vietnamese spot (Four Sisters), pizza place (Pupatella — basically, a way more awesome Redrocks) and Mexican / El Salvadoran (La Union) that in my mind trump any in their category in D.C. Arlington and Falls Church are also reputed to be chock full of burger, kebob, Peruvian chicken, Chinese, Thai/Laotian and Vietnamese places that I am eager to try. I am, however, still on the hunt for solid Indian, Sushi, and Italian options. I’ll chronicle some of my favorites in more detail in future posts.
(2) The film buff in me is rejoicing. Going to the movies in D.C. was always a bit of a nightmare. For such a cultured city, D.C. is strangely lacking in convenient movie theaters. You can brave an hour-long line at the Uptown, circle for hours before finding parking in Georgetown, or arrive 30 minutes early after fighting downtown crowds to secure a decent seat for a new release at E Street or Chinatown. Compare that to Arlington, where I can watch a classic film while drinking a few beers at the Cinema Draft House, reserve a sweet leather recliner and skip the previews at Courthouse Plaza, or catch a great independent film in Shirlington. Plus, Ballston provides yet another option for new releases.
(3) Trails, trails, trails. Because my prior familiarity with Arlington centered on Crystal City and Clarendon, I never really associated this area with natural splendor, or anything remotely resembling that. But it seems like I can’t go anywhere in Arlington without falling ass-backwards into an awesome trail or park. You can use those trails to bike virtually anywhere, and all without a hungover hipster nearly mowing you down in his car, or a delinquent kid throwing stones at you. Or you can walk endlessly, and find all manner of interesting wildlife and natural treasures. I look forward to more exploration of the Arlington trail network in better weather.
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